Sunday, October 23, 2011

It's Comic Book Day Extended Special Edition #2 (Final New 52 #1s)

I was planning on getting a few more #1s to get a more rounded experience.  In this, DC actually shot themselves in the foot, at least regarding my interest.  Beyond the books that I'll summarize here, I was planning on picking up Flash, Superman, and Aquaman, and based on some positive feed back I had heard, even Men of War, which I had no interest in before I read said positive feedback.

Unfortunately, before I was able to play "pickup" on these titles, I started reading tons of stories about what was coming next at the DCnU, as well as quite a few stories about writers leaving projects and directions changing and the like  (I thought we just had a major direction change . . . across the board).

I didn't really start picking up #2s, and I'm not sure if I am going to do so.  I'll admit even I got caught up in the adrenaline of the relaunch, but at the same time, without good ideas or a coherent direction, it's hard to keep caring.

So, with that rousing endorsement, here are the last two "New 52" that I picked up.

Hey, broken record time . . . anyone care to guess what I'm going to say about Wonder Woman #1?  If you said that the story just kind of cuts off without really resolving and leaving a ton of questions, you would be right.  

It was okay.  It didn't make me feel like I wasn't reading Wonder Woman, but I was a bit perplexed by the rave reviews.  Greek gods doing mysterious stuff, some girl is in trouble, and she gets teleported to WW for help, and she helps, and we find out why Hera doesn't like her . . . which isn't a big surprise.

I have to say, my opinion is further maligned by knowing the "big reveal" coming up in Wonder Woman.  Taking a unique origin like Wonder Woman's, and then changing it to something as base as "Wonder Woman is a Zeus' kid" is about as bad as saying Thomas and Martha Wayne were part of some secret society working against an organized evil organization in Gotham . . . wait . . . how about, it's about as dumb as Peter Parker's parents being spies . . . no . . . wait . . .

Our generation of comic book creators have much to answer for.

Swamp Thing #1 references (at least vaguely) the pre-Crisis Alan Moore "Anatomy Lesson" story, the Death of Superman storyline, Brightest Day, and has Superman appear in his DCnU outfit.  And none of these references are really fully, explained.  Swamp Thing may be the least new reader friendly book in the entire new 52 line up.  And the story doesn't resolve.  In fact, we kind of see the potential future villains, but there isn't even a hint that Alec Holland is going to go anywhere near them yet.

I can't say it was bad.  I'm just not sure if it's worth the effort to follow.  I read Swamp Thing even before Alan Moore started his famous run on it, and I always liked it, but man, I wish it had just been a story that sort of explained who Swamp Thing was, and told a complete story.  Especially for a new #1 issue.

I'm not sure if I'll eventually go back and check out any more new 52 books.  One nice thing about same day digital is that, even if everything is sold out, I can still read these things, and if I'm not getting them "same day," a month later I save a buck.  I'm still thinking they might need to be cheaper than the actual physical copy even same day, but hey, that's me.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

It's Comic Book Day! Special Edition Madness #1/2 (The New 52 Part 3)

Just as a side note, I have to point out that I was more geeked out and excited about one episode of Young Justice last night than I was after reading any single issue in the relaunch.  Just a disclaimer and some perspective on who's bringing you these opinions.

Legion of Superheroes is a book that I picked up for much the same reason as Legion Lost, i.e. I wanted to see how a book that was suppose to not be rebooted would work in the reboot atmosphere, and what DC had planned to relaunch without rebooting.

Over the last few years I've picked up a few issues of the new LOSH and Adventure comics, so I kind of know what's going on.  Storyline wise, it picks up right where the old series left off.  No reboot at all.  Also, no real introduction, so if you are a mythical new reader . . . well, the Legion cartoon from a few years ago was a fairly good introduction to these future people.

Also, like most of the New 52 . . . we spend most of the issue learning that there is a murky impending threat without any real resolution or a contained story arc.  Honestly, if I ran RPG sessions like this, I'd say "X, Y, and Z may be a threat, everyone roll initiative . . . and that's the end of the session, good night."

I feel like I'm saying this a lot, but, not a bad book, but also not one that makes me care if I'm not already following LOSH, and not one that does anything to explain the group if I am really new to the concept.

Nightwing also ends in a cliffhanger, but I liked it.  It does, indeed, directly reference the "old days," i.e. before Flashpoint, by having Dick talk about his time as Batman, but it's also nice to get back to Dick being his own man, and mentioning that he wants to be Nightwing, even if he had to be Batman.  I wasn't sure how the "visiting the old homestead" thing was going to work with Nightwing going back to the circus, but it wasn't really bad.  Plus, the book may not have ended, but a least the mysterious lurking threat actually attacked Nightwing and started a fight by the end.

I'm liking it, as it doesn't seem quite as overtly grim as the other Bat books.  I'm not sure it's a great "starter" book, but you do at least pick up that Dick was the first Robin, became Nightwing, filled in for Batman, and then returned to the Nightwing persona, and the visit to the circus at least gives some nods to his origins, which is a lot more that some of these supposed introductory books did.

I was worried about the new costume and new home announced for Static Shock.  I really didn't want Static to move away from Dakota City or lose anything that made the book what it was originally.  After reading the book, I'm not too disappointed in the direction it took.  While there isn't much in the way of explaining Virgil's origins or past exploits, we do get that he's been a superhero, he just moved, he's a science geek, and he's establishing himself in New York.  I can't put my finger on it, but it at least feels like there is some momentum towards explaining the character, instead of just jumping without any backstory at all.

In fact, the book feels like it kind of promises some resolution, especially when it comes to Static's conversations with Hardware back in Dakota.  If I have a complaint, it's that I wasn't thrilled with the art, and the villains didn't really grab me, being a bit more "we're villains that have a nefarious plan you don't know about, so let's attack" kind of guys.  But that can all be fixed in context of a good follow up story.

If, of course, the fact that the book is already changing writers doesn't kill all of this positive momentum.  Sigh.

I will never, ever read another issue of Stormwatch.  Pretty simple.  I picked it up because of Martian Manhunter.  He does absolutely nothing of consequence here, and exists in the book only to let you know that these Wildstorm characters are now in the DCU.

How to sum up the book?  These guys have vague weird high concept powers, they are a million times better than the Justice League, and fight threats that are kind of like what would happen if God dropped acid.  "What's this, the intestinal tract of an alternate reality is perforated and cosmic feces is infecting sub-space?  Quick, let's use our powers that directly affect the plot to make us look quirky high concept!"

I was so not impressed that even knowing this book will tie into Demon Knights bumps Demon Knights off my list of books to keep up with.  I'm not really even sure why this book (which is really the Authority not Stormwatch) is one of DC's big relaunch books.  An actual DC Stormwatch would have been better, except that that Stormwatch is really JLI.

I'm not sure how to take this book, and part of the problem is that I know too much "meta" information, i.e. that the writer of Superboy, at one point, said that Superboy may have been active and returned to his status at the beginning of the book.

Basically, Superboy's origins look a bit more like his origins in the Young Justice cartoon, i.e. with far fewer sympathetic good guys working at the lab where he was born, and with a member of Gen 13 assigned to watch him  (not sure if any version of Gen 13 canon exists beyond the character), and Rose Wilson, who I'm not sure is Deathstrokes daughter or not, assigned to off him if he goes off the rails.

It's confusing.  I'm not sure it's "damning" confusing, because it may actually be building to some kind of resolution, and appears to be tied to Teen Titans for part of it's story.  Not sure how I feel about that within the construct of a big relaunch like this, but, surprise, this book doesn't resolve any kind of story by the end, just introduces the potential connection to Teen Titans.

I'm still picturing a memo from DiDio:  "Remember, the best way to get people to buy the next issue is for people to not have any idea what happened in issue #1.  So don't resolve anything!"

Supergirl does not appear to be off to a bad start.  From the blurbs, I expected an "attitude" drenched hip know it all Supergirl, but she pretty much seems like a bewildered teenager that doesn't know what's going on, which fits.  I do think that it lessens the impact of Supergirl when she shows up as we are still trying to figure out who Kal-El is in this universe, but, hey, that's not this issue's fault.

All in not, it's not a bad book, and probably better as an introduction since it's actually an origin story.

One more round, and I should be all through everything that I planned to pick up from the #1 issues.  Interestingly, my thoughts on continuing to follow these has gone from, "hey, I might, some of these aren't bad" to "wow, DC really seems to be dumb, so I'm not sure there is a point in even following the OK titles" due to some more recent events, but who knows?

Finally, I'm really waiting for the DC Universe Online Legends book to wrap up, as I am actually fairly convinced that the scenario and timeline presented are actually a pretty good set up for an RPG setting based on DC Comics, even if the game isn't the best MMO going.

Monday, October 10, 2011

It's Comic Book Day Extended Special Edition #1 (The New 52 Continued)

Continuing my journey through the new 52 issues that I read, now only about a month late on a few of them!

Demon Knights #1 gave me a weird mixed feeling about a lot of things.  On one hand, it had enough mystery to it that it would have been interesting to follow up with, but on the other hand, there were a few stylistic issues and entanglements that keep me from being comfortable with the book.

Thematically, I'm not thrilled that Etrigan isn't the cagey rhyming demon we've seen before, and that the first New 52 appearance of Vandal Savage has him appear as almost an affable barbarian instead of a brutal immortal villain.  Theoretically, this reboot is as much about new readers as old ones, so this the first chance you have to make an impression with these characters.  And also, since DiDio seems to be very conscious of other media appearances of the characters, people that may have seen these guys on Justice League may not even remember these guys as the same characters.

The story doesn't really resolve, which isn't a fatal flaw, but the book seems to be linked to two other books, Justice League Dark and Stormwatch, and that you may not fully get all of your answers just by following this book.  It takes a really stellar story to convince someone to invest in a mystery that might span multiple titles, and those titles have to really be hitting all the right notes as well.

As you can tell from my long winded inability to peg this book down, it's got lots of potential, and is an interesting read, but creates a lot of uncertainty that I'm not sure is worth the digging and investment that might come.

Detective Comics #1:  Hey, this one is easy.  Didn't like it.  First, it was too confusing to figure out that this was another "in the past" book.  Second, Joker, as a serial killer that is very prolific, looks like a clown, and has been hard to catch, is a really, really boring character.  Audacity and chaos make Joker, not body count.  Finally, I don't mind Batman dealing with serial killers.  Track down Szasz or Cornelius Stirk once in a while.  But the crux of this is that Joker, who is a serial killer, is being stalked by a family of other serial killers so that they can all work on serial killing together . . . gah . . . really?

Green Lantern Corps #1 appears to have been written with the same paradigm that many of the other New 52 books had, which is, don't resolve anything in one issue!  Whatever you do, don't tell a complete story!  It's not that I mind, but it really seems like a few "introductory" stories could have been more complete.

That said, this book wasn't bad.  It not only gave you a background on who Guy Gardener and John Stewart are, it gives a really quick synopses of the GLC without getting dragged down with explaining a billion lantern corps or hammering new readers with "the Guardians suck!"  I didn't pick up Green Lantern #1, because I promised myself that I wasn't reading any GL book that didn't move away from the spectrum corp soap opera, and honestly, this one looks like a better introduction to the GL universe than the standard GL book or the New Guardians.

What can I say about Justice League #1?  It's Geoff Johns in a nutshell.  I really enjoyed the character interactions, and yet the story hardly advances at all.  It was worth it to see Batman tweak Hal, and then to see Superman pretty much put Hal on his ass, especially after years of "Hal is better than you all gave him credit for," and the Batman denigration that occurred in Rebirth.  

I'm not sold on Cyborg being a founding member, but that's as much a part of the freaking screwed up timeline as a problem with the character himself being on the team.  I actually want to keep reading this, as it was fun, but I'm really afraid I'm getting set up for another Johns "this was fun and interesting up to the halfway point, at which point I got lost and then in the last issue a bunch of stuff that was never even foreshadowed happened to resolve the story without really resolving it so we can wallow in the same stuff for years" storyline.

Justice League International #1 reminds me that I feel like I'm getting whiplash from all of this jumping forwards and backwards in time.  The Justice League is just forming, but after it's been around for five years, the UN decides to copy it with their own team!

I didn't mind the issue, but I did feel like some of the inter-team conflicts were played up too much to establish that this team isn't suppose to get along well, even if some of the conflicts feel really vague.  It's also a little confusing to figure out who has been where.  Were Fire and Ice on the regular JL over the last five years?  Was Guy?  I got the feeling that this book was still a work in progress with DCnU continuity not quite settled, and the book had to be written around that.  It's an interesting set up, so I think its worth giving more time to develop, I just hope the interaction feels a bit more natural and less forced as it moves along.  And where the Hell is Skeets?  If you don't have Ted Kord for Booster to play off of, at least you need Skeets!  Jurgens of all people should know that!

I'm not sure why I got Legion Lost #1.  I think this had to do with the fact that I wanted to see how the "not being rebooted during a reboot" worked for the Legion, and because, in this comic, I thought it would be fun to see how a group of Legion members would cope with being in the modern day realm of current superheroes.

Guess what?  I didn't get that.  I got a bunch of B and D list Legion members chasing a terrorist with some kind of plague through time and technobabble happens and their Legion stuff doesn't work and they can't go back through time because of technobabble.  Instead of letting Timberwolf use his powers to track down the bad guy, it's more important to sit around and argue about why the technobabble doesn't work, and then something happens, and techobabble apparently kills two members of the team along with my interest in ever reading this book again.

I think I will hold off on that last round of new 52 books at this point.  However, at this point in the New 52 framework, let me just say, some books aren't bad, some are amazingly bad, but none of them really seem to be hitting that magic must read button or feel like the great jumping on point for the mythical "never read  comics before" reader that DC claims to want to snag.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Games in Review, October 9th, 2011 (DC Adventures)

First off, the technical rules hoo hah out of the way.  The same day as my DC Adventures game, Green Ronin finally released the Mutants and Masterminds 3rd Edition Game Master's Guide.  Among the things that immediately caught my attention were the more detailed Wealth rules, Knockback, Lethal damage, and a sub-system for straining one's abilities in order to throw out a really big wallop, beyond what extra-effort allows.  Ironically, all of this GM goodness came out after I finally got around to typing up the current campaign standards with my own rules for lethal damage and a few other things  (informed by, but not 100% matching, some of the suggestions in the Hero's Handbook).

So I'll be doing new standards soon, but I'm happy to have what appears to be a pretty solid base for the next iteration of the standards.  However, with all the technical stuff out of the way, it's time to fight some Black Lanterns!

Black Lantern Marathon was in charge of the bad guys, and right off the bat, he attempted to power stunt a wormhole so he could implement some plan.  I allowed Marathon's player to make an Insight check to figure out what he would do if he were dead and had no soul, to whit a few of the others in the group said, "so, how is that different than he is now?"

The Black Lanterns had their stats generated by utilizing the sidebar in Black Hand's entry.  Man those are some nasty abilities.  Then again, Black Lanterns are definitely a "come up with some kind of comic book plan to defeat them" enemy, not a "beat them up or blast them to Hell with your powers" enemies.

In the comics the main way to deal with the Black Lanterns would be to apply two or more different emotional spectrum energies to a Black Lantern.  Unfortunately, that solution wasn't going to work in this situation.  I had already decided that, given the weakness to the White Ring and the power of the entity of life, Necromancer's ability to raise the dead would provide a possible means of defeating the Black Lanterns.

So basically, if one of the Black Lanterns was knocked out, and Necromancer raised them before their next turn  (since they had Immortality 20 with the Black Lantern rings), the ring's connection would be severed and the dead body would be immune to being animated, leaving the ring vulnerable to being destroyed, but only until that character's turn, at which point, the dead would rise again.

First off, my group, the entire group, was on with their amusing superhero and not quite as heroic quips, so I threw out a lot of hero points.  Thankfully, as soon as one of the Black Lanterns was down, Necromancer tried his ability, and so the means of defeating the bad guys became evident.  The biggest problem was that while the rest of Task Force X were minions, Marathon was not, and Black Lantern Marathon would not drop.

Eventually the group was triumphant, and none of the Black Lanterns managed to successfully use their "rip out their hearts" ability.  When Black Lantern Marathon went away, the rest of the rings  (all products of Hypertime) disappeared  (except, of course, the one from this reality that Myrmidon was still wearing).  Thankfully, Myrmidon's plan of getting killed, becoming a Black Lantern on his own and attempting to become the new alpha male of the Black Lantern pack never got implemented.  Fahrenheit did grab a ring, which would have been disastrous, except it was still bonded to the guy he lifted it from, so it didn't turn the formerly dead hero to a newly dead and then reanimated villain.

Oh, and Paradox finally got to use Leadership.  Just wanted to note that.

What was interesting was that Necromancer wanted to raise Amanda Waller, feeling bad for her death.  Myrmidon adamantly stated that they shouldn't be trying to raise anyone else after all that happened, and the argument escalated from there.  In the mean time, Marathon and Fahrenheit conspired to have the DMA take the bodies to a local hospital, and everyone agreed to keep Mister Freeze from being the guy that attempted Waller's return.  That led to a fun application of the Nullify power from Fahrenheit to make Freeze's suit warm up, and then the rest of the party to crack his dome, causing him to freeze up to save himself.  They also got Trevor to have him transferred back to Arkham instead of Belle Reve.

Fahrenheit started seeing an attractive blond man wherever he went, Myrmidon went to a gentlemen's club with the team's pilot Javier to help him think, Paradox started writing up his report for Trevor, and Marathon was doing research on Circe's domain for Myrmidon.  After Myrmidon provided some lore to Marathon to go on, he located some areas near Greece to check out, and Marathon and Necromancer checked out a mysterious island that might bear some investigation.

Eventually with the whole group home, the mysterious blond man introduced himself to the team  (minus Paradox, who had a date) as Neron.  Necromancer knew who that was, and stated that they should never ever ever cut any kind of deal with him ever.  Neron, however, is a charming guy and offered to get them into the Rock of Eternity, and promised a "freebie" wish-like promise.  Marathon called Paradox back home, and against their better judgment, pretty much the whole party agreed to Neron's offer, which was to steal the Crown of Hell from Blaze for him, while she is at the Rock of Eternity.  He also mentioned that Blaze took Black Adam "out of the game" by calling in a few favors to gain Isis' soul.

The party got their freebies:  Myrmidon became more powerful  (he's PL 14 in a PL 11 game), Fahrenheit's parent's souls are safely on the outskirts of Heaven, Necromancer asked to have any Apokalips DNA taken out of him, and Marathon, Paradox, and Beorn all opted to cash in the favor later.  Neron handed the group a model of the Rock of Eternity that will allow them to show up, unannounced, on Blaze's doorstep, and that is where we leave our heroes.

Full Disclosure:  I'm hoping more of the favors get traded in for a boost in power.  I can handle a PL 14 game, but I'll feel a bit guilty if the whole group doesn't even out to the same PL by the end of this segment of the campaign.  However, it's the player's choice on how to cash in those favors.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

It's Comic Book Day! Lucky Issue #13 (The New 52)

Yup, I broke down and checked it out.  I have a few weaknesses.  One weakness is that I have a very hard time when others can (rightly) say that my opinion isn't based on fact.  It makes me want to go out and gather facts.  My other weakness is that I love DC Comics, even when they suck.  Doesn't mean I'll keep reading, mind you, but I do love the DC Universe and their characters.

With that disclaimer in place, what have I read so far, and what did I think?  And do you care?  And should you?  And if you do, what does that say about you?  Erm, back on topic . . .

Man, they got me to buy a Grant Morrison book.  This isn't going to be the best review, as I've got a lot to get through.  It's not as radical as it was touted, but it also doesn't feel that much like Superman to me.  It doesn't even feel like Smallville.  Strangely, it doesn't even have much of Morrison's trademark WTF moments.  Superman doesn't have all of his powers, and he's willing to break every bone in someone's body, but probably not kill them.  And Lois' father is still playing evil general.  May check out another issue, but leaning towards no.

Oh, and with a nod towards "new reader friendliness," unlike Justice League, it's pretty easy to get lost in where this story is taking place.  I figured it out because I've read a ton of interviews.

Not a bad book, and not a horrible one for jumping on.  You find out pretty quick that Barbara got shot and is just getting back into the hero game, and the villain looks interesting.  It seems unlikely that she was ever Oracle, given the time frame mentioned in the book, which is disappointing, but overall, if everything were rebooted  (sigh, which it's not) that would be a less annoying nit pick.  Jarring to see Jim Gordon made younger, and I'm not sure the point.

I'm hearing a lot of people saying that this book is a break out hit of the new 52.  It's not bad, but I'm not getting the break out hit thing.  We get introduced to a lot, see Bruce interact with a lot of his supporting case, and get a vague hint about a conspiracy/mystery that will play out eventually.  Enough to make it worth while to check out another issue maybe, but "not sucking" really shouldn't be the standard for "hit."

Full disclaimer:  not a big fan of Damian.  I liked Son of the Demon, and I liked Bruce's son in Kingdom Come . . . Damian isn't that guy.  Still, between Red Robin, Batgirl, and even Batman and Robin that I read in the "old" DCU, Damian was kind of starting to mellow and grow on me a bit.  So to make a point, now that Damian is paired with dad again and for the new readers, his jerk factor goes up.  Also, with the references to Batman Inc., Bruce's disappearance, and Dick's time as Batman, you wouldn't even notice a reboot.

I guess that's good for people that really enjoyed the direction of the Bat books, but man is it jarring reading this mix of old and new universe.  Yet, despite all of that, I kind of enjoyed this one, despite not liking Batman Inc. or Damian.  Go figure.

As much as I loved Ted Kord, Jaime really grew on me.  Between the Brave and the Bold cartoon and Generation Lost, I was convinced that I could live with Jaime as the Blue Beetle, because he was great.  He was funny, energetic, charismatic, and likable.

I didn't mind this issue.  It starts from scratch, with Jaime getting his powers.  It was even nice to see a few B list DC villains show up.  But I couldn't shake the feeling that it feels a bit too soon to retell Jaime's story with minor tweaks, and I have to admit, from all of the Spanish exclamations I felt like there was a bit of "hey, look, a Latino hero!"  Maybe I'm just cynical.  Overall, it's okay, but I hope they get some of Jaime's personality back into the book.

I haven't harped on art much thus far, but I'll mention it here.  If you think the costume looks a little impractical on the cover, you should see it inside.  The stuff looks like vaguely high tech full plate with random spikes and blades on it, that somehow don't snag on door frames or stab Slade when he walks.  It's a mess.  And why is the mask now a helmet with a face plate that swivels up?

Okay, art out of the way.  The author wanted to reinstate Slade as the number one bad ass metahuman assassin in the DC Universe, minus any hint of failure or positive traits.  No family, no regrets, no higher purpose, and no loosing.  So in this comic, Slade pulls off a really hard assassination, double crosses his allies, and has multiple people mention how bad ass he is, even though we are introduced to an undercurrent of doubt that he's getting too old to be at the top of his game.

Slade's a good assassin that is a jerk.  No need for me to read any more.  Mission accomplished, and in just one issue!  Nice work.  I just don't miss the 90s and comics with "Death" in the title that much to keep reading.  I kind of like Slade as a bad ass because he pulled off things like introducing Terra to the Titans, instead of measuring bad ass in gallons of blood and body count.

I think this would be a better, more interesting book if it were about Slade getting the better of established DC heroes and villains.  Not killing them, mind you (not because I don't want Slade to kill, but because I don't want to loose good heroes and villains), but out maneuvering them and pulling off some mission or another right under their noses.

That wasn't all I got, but it's all I got time for at the moment.  Hopefully I'll have time soon to keep going.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Very Special Episode of Games in Review, October 2nd, 2011 (Deathwatch)

Having been playing RPGs since the mid-80s, I've been aware of Warhammer and Warhammer 40K for a long, long time.  It was nearly impossible to read Dragon Magazine or walking into a game shop without seeing some manifestation of the game, so the very basics seeped into just about anyone that was gaming around the time I got into the hobby.

Since I was primarily a tabletop RPG guy I viewed miniatures games much as I would later view LARPs, as related cousins that were removed enough that I only needed to be passingly informed about them.  In general, I had the mindset that 40K was pretty much fantasy races put in high tech gear and throw into science fiction battlefields.

The next time the GW ads really caught my attention involved the Space Hulk game.  I thought I had this universe figured out, what with the whole "Tolkien-ish Fantasy Races in Space" concept that I thought I had sussed out.  But this Space Hulk thing seemed like it was mixing the Aliens franchise into the game.  Interesting, but I dismissed it as just mining a successful franchise for material.  After all, I was playing a fantasy game that totally wasn't just stitching together hundreds of fantasy and horror tropes and then shoving them into settings together  (irony, they name is youth).

It wasn't until my adult life where I actually met people playing 40K.  Instead of just shopping at the LFGS, I actually spent some time there, and began to talk more and more with people that painted little armies and then had them attack one another.  While I still wasn't ready to jump into minis gaming, but I did pick up more and more of the whole backstory, and apparently there was more to this whole 40K thing than just having orks and daemons in space.

Man, if only there were an RPG for this stuff, I might get into it.

Okay, so eventually there was.  Unfortunately, it didn't interest me that much.  I'm not saying its bad, and in retrospect, I'd certainly give the game a try if I had the time and a GM that I knew fairly well.  Heck, I even watched a session at Armored Gopher, and it looked like a lot of fun.

Still, I've been going through a lot of game systems lately.  I got out of Pathfinder, and my Hellfrost campaign just didn't seem to take off the way I was hoping it would.  I realized from work and home that I didn't need to get out of gaming, but maybe I could shift a bit more of my gaming from GMing to playing.

One of my players in my DC Adventures game told me that he could let me into his Deathwatch game if I was interested.  I had store credit from the Pathfinder material that I had traded in, so I picked up the Deathwatch core book, but at the time, I didn't think I was going to end up playing.

Within a week I picked up the Rites of Battle Book as well.  I had thoughts running through my head, ideas for characters and backgrounds, and I needed a little bit more of a fix . . . er . . . of background material I mean.

What is really funny is that when I started really looking at the 40K RPG line, I immediately knew that I would favor Rogue Trader, just because it offers the wider view of the setting, with all sorts of adventures being possible.  It wasn't until I got into reading about how the Deathwatch works and the interactions between chapters that I really saw the roleplaying potential in a Space Marine game.

I had a hard time actually making my character to begin with.  I first thought I would go with making a Blood Raven, since I knew something of them from the Dawn of War RTS computer game, but I didn't want my GM to have to make up or have to okay rules for a chapter that wasn't detailed, and I also wanted to not look like a noob  ("I'm totally making up a character based on a peripheral part of the universe that penetrated the mainstream . . . accept me!).  So looking over the existing, detailed chapters, the Space Wolves jumped out at me.

Thus Rangar was born.  In order to introduce me into the campaign where the PCs were at, I ended up being an old Legionary Marine from thousands of years ago, and was actually a young bodyguard of Leman Russ himself!  The more backstory my GM threw at me, the more I delved into the setting, and the more it got its hooks into me.

I had a lot of fun with that first session.  The group had started out running afoul of a Daemon, and apparently our location is under siege from multiple enemies of the Imperium.  I got to tell stories about Leman Russ and the good old days  (I made sure to pick up storytelling as a trained skill), and give our Blackshield brother a lot of crap in theorizing what his chapter was  ("the way you avoid direct combat, I'm guessing your chapter were ferrets.  Run, run up the pantleg of Destiny and hide!").

Also, should he read this, I had a blast, and I'm sorry I goaded you into trying to ram those Tau with a cycle.  You are most certainly a mongoose and not a ferret.

Disclaimer . . . somewhat offensive language to follow:

After discussing our situation and the manipulative Inquisitor whose judgement had brought us to this situation and being drawn into a political discussion, I got to utter this line:

"The Great Leman Russ had a saying about Politics:  Politics sucks balls!"

Other highlights?  Our Librarian caused an earthquake, turned the lights out, and knocked himself out, as well as killing lots of enemies.  Our Blackshield killed the Tau commander, but I got more kills.  Our tactical marine dove into a horde, killed a lot of them, lost his right leg, and died.  Our apothecary kept throwing a tarp over the daemon's head, and our tech marine jury rigged chapel's force field by doing the Happy Dance of Appeasement for the field generator.

I'm really looking forward to the next session.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Games in Review, October 1st, 2011 (Hypertime Highjinks Part 2)

Let's get caught up on the DC Adventures game, shall we?

When we last left our intrepid adventurers, they were off to see Timothy Hunter at the White School to see if he could figure out a fix for the whole Hypertime issue our heroes have been suffering under.  

However, before they could head out, yet another Hypertime construct based around a member of the New Guard appeared.  "Survivor" Fahrenheit appears, bedraggled, older, and wiser  (not really), he starts pitching fireballs at the group, since they are just figments of his imagination  (from his point of view).  

Myrmidon's first impulse is to fight Fahrenheit with Fahrenheit, so he picks up his team member and throws him at the alternate version of Fahrenheit.  Oddly, causing contact between the two versions of Fahrenheit doesn't really accomplish anything, other than causing minor bruising to both men.

Eventually the group incapacitates "Survivor" Fahrenheit, but not before Fahrenheit surprises everyone with his newfound control over ice and cold as well as fire.  "Survivor" Fahrenheit wakes up and tells the group of his future, where Myrmidon saved Fahrenheit from the Reckoning, and Fahrenheit was the only one to see a future where Trigon's demons rule the Earth and Black Adam's force of kidnapped heroes fights in vain against the horde of the demonic.

"Survivor" Fahrenheit is soon called Fahrenhobo by the group, as he doesn't particularly seem motivated to do much but sit on the couch and raid the New Guard headquarters refrigerator.  

The group heads to the White School, meet up with Necromancer's real mom, and she explains the real, non-Hypertime origin of Myrmidon.  Her twin sister, born without any magical talent, became a devotee of Circe, but still never learned to use magic on her own.  While serving Circe, she caught the eye of Ares, and she had a son with the god.

Circe, being jealous, killed Myrmidon's mother and had him raised by subordinates on her island  (not being able to bring herself to kill one of Ares children, and not wanting to draw his ire).  Myrmidon decides that he needs to find Circe and kill her.

Family issues aside, the group talks to Timothy Hunter, and he thinks he may be able to intentionally create alternate realities based on each of the New Guard, as a "pressure valve" to keep the Hypertime events from happening.  However, he thinks he can only do this intentionally at the Vanishing Point, the last moments before the End of Time.

At Vanishing Point, the New Guard keep Tim Hunter safe while he completes his spell, as Shadow Demons from the Anti-matter universe attack.  The group manages to take almost all of them out before they close in, and after all of the Shadow Demons are finished, Tim Hunter hands each of the New Guard a shiny glass globe with an alternate universe in it, but makes them promise to be careful with them, as there are trillions and trillions of lives in each globe.

Fahrenheit is worried that it's a bit too much responsibility for him to hold a universe in his hands.

After having multiple alternate universes created, the group decides to kick back.  Fahrenhobo is still on the couch, and Marathon decides to head to the White House for his meeting with the President over the dissolution of the New Guard's official standing.  He's escorted to his meeting by Secret Service members armed with Lexcorp Battlesuits.

In the meeting, Marathon finds out that the President was influenced by future Necromancer, "The Guru," who wanted the team fired so that he could realize his full potential as a self-help author.  He then attempts to make Marathon see things his way by summoning the soul of Spellbinder to enthrall Marathon's mind.

Marathon calls in Necromancer, who wants to deal with himself . . . himself, but Marathon tells him to bring in the whole team.  In the meantime, part of the White House is collapsed by the bound spirit of  Terra, and Marathon's telekinetic battering isn't taking out the Guru.  In fact, the Guru manages to take over the mind of one of the Secret Service members.

The group arrives, and the fight is tough for them, until Myrmidon closes on the Guru, who hasn't been practicing his intangibility for a while, and Myrmidon holds him still while he's taken out.  A blast from Necromancer erases Guru from this reality.

The group is reinstated by the President out of gratitude  (and because it wasn't really his idea).  The group asks if they can talk to their pilot Javier and take a ride in the invisible DMA helicopter, and Marathon flies back to Central City on his own to start researching Circe for Myrmidon.

Paradox starts to wonder where the Hypertime construct relating to Marathon might be, and Marathon holds Fahrenhobo's head under water until he dissolves into temporal energy and disperses.  Paradox shares his concern that Marathon's construct may still be lurking, and Marathon calls his ex-wife.  Everything seems fine there, but the DMA helicopter receives a distress call from Belle Reve prison.

Marathon and the DMA helicopter head to Louisiana, and they are greeted by a Black Lantern Marathon who has just killed Amander Waller, and turned the White Magician, Conduit, and KGBeast into Black Lanterns as well.

We'll see how all of this shakes out next Tuesday!